Illinois ranked eighth nationally in the U.S. News and World Report. Students think admissions are getting tougher.

By Peter Kim

The ivy began growing on Illinois soil last year as U.S. News and World Report ranked the University eighth in the nation for public universities.

In addition to the overall rating, U.S. News and World Report gave high rankings to several colleges within the University such as engineering, which ranked fifth nationally, and business, which ranked twelfth.

“When I was applying, I was definitely taking Illinois’ reputation into consideration,” said Dan Marchwiany, freshman in LAS. “Some people (consider the University) as close to the Ivy League.”

According to the U.S. News and World Report, the placement of colleges is based on seven categories. Half of the assessment measures admissions rate, student retention and the number students that graduate relative to the number expected to graduate. The other half considers faculty and financial resources and an assessment by college administrators.

“I think that the rankings are pretty accurate,” said Sujay Bhobe, sophomore in Engineering. “But I think student reviews should also be taken into account.”

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However, because of these new accolades, many students and University graduates think that getting into the University is getting tougher.

Jennifer Kim, graduate of LAS, says she was very surprised when she saw the latest University application form.

“When I applied (in 2004), the application basically just asked for your ACT score and what classes you took,” Kim said. “It didn’t even ask for extracurricular activities, clubs or awards. There was an essay portion, but it was optional, and the prompt said to just write a personal statement.”

The current application asks for a full documentation of your extra-curricular activities, community service, work experience, and honors/awards. It also requires two essays – one professional, one personal – with specific prompts for each.

A representative from the University office of admissions and records could not be reached for comment.

A different national ranking conducted by the Princeton Review, however, praised another aspect of the University: partying. Although far from the top, the University ranked in the top twenty party schools in the nation trailing not so far behind list-toppers University of Florida and University of Mississippi.

“It makes me really proud,” Kim said. “I think the fact that we rank in academics and as a party school really shows the true diversity of U of I. We know how study, and we know how to party.”